David Shuster’s words inappropriate? Yes. Incident blown out of proportion? Yes.
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Democrats’ presidential election process not so democratic

The Democratic presidential campaign continues even with Barack Obama's trouncing of Hillary Clinton yesterday. Clinton is ahead in total delegates but Obama is ahead in pledged delegates.

What does that mean? Well, it means that in close elections such as this, the people --- that would be you and me --- won't have the final say on the Democrat presidential nominee. Yeah, uh-huh. The superdelegates can totally override the will of the people.

Take a look at the delegate count thus far.


Hillary Clinton

Pledged: 877

Superdelegates: 223

Total: 1,100

Barack Obama

Pledged: 908

Superdelegates: 131

Total: 1,039

John Edwards

Pledged: 26

Superdelegates: 0

Total: 26

From CNN Elections website as of 2008/02/10 6:05 AM

Delegate Definitions

Pledged delegates: Won by candidates in primaries and caucuses; pledge to support their candidates at the national conventions.
Superdelegates: Democratic officeholders and party officials guaranteed national convention seats; can support the candidate of their choice.

The Dems and Republicans follow different processes to elect their presidential nominee. The fight for delegates is serious. The Democratic nominee must win 2,025 delegates or the superdelegates decide who the nominee is. Obama is ahead of Clinton in the pledged votes but Florida and Michigan were penalized and their votes are not included. Clinton won both states.

Herein lies the dilemma for the Democratic Party elite; they don't want to make that decision. The potential to cause the Party to implode is quite real.

Surely, Howard Dean and other shot-callers are trying to broker deals between the Obama and Clinton camps; I'd love to be a fly on the wall for those discussions.

There are 796 superdelegates; the hard sell to them is in effect. Some powerful names such as Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea ad John Kerry are being used to lobby the superdelegates. Democratic Party loyalists underestimated the success of Obama's and the need to use the superdelegates in such a tight potentially divisive race.

The Nation gives a good history of superdelegates and an analysis of how they may impact this year's election. Want more details on the superdelegates and how they vote? Go to this site.

Don't think this is just a Democratic Party issue. The Republican equivalent to superdelegates are called unpledged RNC members. So, in either party, the rank and file can be overridden by Party elite. That must change.